Rolled Roofing: a Comprehensive Guide to Cost, Maintenance, and Eco-friendly Choices

Author Image

By George Taylor

Updated: Jan 25, 2024

8 min read

Rolled Roofing

Table of Content

    You've got a roofing project on the horizon, and the endless possibilities are overwhelming, right? Shingles, tiles, metal, and... rolls? Yep, that's right—rolled roofing is becoming the unsung hero of the roofing world, and today, we're diving deep into what makes it so unique.

    If you're scratching your head, wondering what on Earth "rolled roofing" even means, then you've come to the right place. By the end of this blog, you'll be a rolled roofing specialist equipped with all the knowledge you need to make the best roofing choice for your home.

    Also Read What Is Rubber Roofing? – The Complete Guide

    What is Rolled Roofing?

    Rolled roofing is the multitool of roofing solutions. it's an asphalt-based roofing material that comes—wait for it—in rolls! With the affordable prices of asphalt roll roofing for sale, you could say it's the budget-friendly cousin of traditional shingles.

    Whether you're a contractor or a DIY enthusiast, the simplicity of roll roofing has probably caught your eye. Imagine not having to place individual shingles—just unroll and secure! You should know that rolled roofing is generally best suited for low-slope or nearly flat residential roofs. It's a bonafide hero for flat roofs, especially when compared to other roofing material types like clay or slate tiles.

    Rolled Roofing Primary Characteristics

    Rubber Roll Roofing

    Think of rolled roofing as that versatile actor who can play multiple roles but specializes in a few. What makes it the Jack of All Trades in the roofing world?

    Material: It’s primarily made of the same material as asphalt shingles, which means it’s as sturdy as a rock when it comes to weather resistance.

    Installation: It comes in rolls (duh!), making the installation process quick and easy. Roll on roof shingles? They're a cinch when you're dealing with rolled roofing.

    Durability: Don't underestimate this material just because it's lightweight. Its roofing roll paper and underlying roofing membrane roll contribute to its resilience against wind and water damage.

    Affordability: Searching for roll roofing for flat roof or slope? You’ll find that rolled asphalt roofing is cost-effective, especially when you compare rolls of shingles to other roofing types. With rolled roofing prices often being cheaper, your wallet will thank you.

    Versatility: From black rolled roofing to a plethora of other rolled roofing colors, you can match it with the aesthetics of your home with ease.

    Lifespan: While not as long-lasting as some modern roofing materials like metal, a well-installed rolled roof can last up to 10 years or more.

    Adaptability: Need it for your patio, shed, or even as a temporary fix for a damaged residential roof? The roll of roofing can handle it.

    Easy Repair: Got a leak? No worries! The roll roofing installation process is so straightforward that repairs can often be done without calling in the pros.

    Types: Believe it or not, there are different types of rolled roofing—MSR roofing, rolled composition roof, and rolled membrane roofing, just to name a few.

    Types of Rolled Roofing

    Types of Rolled Roofing

    When it comes to roofing your home, you’ve got choices – a plethora of them! Among the myriad roofing materials, one option that's both cost-effective and versatile is rolled roofing. So, let's dive deep into the types of rolled roofing you can choose from.

    Asphalt Roll Roofing

    By far the most common type, asphalt roll roofing, is loved for its affordability and ease of installation. Generally used for low-slope residential roofs and outbuildings like sheds, it's a go-to for many do-it-yourself enthusiasts. The material is saturated in asphalt for waterproofing and is often surfaced with mineral granules.

    Rolled Membrane Roofing

    This is a premium option, most commonly used for commercial buildings, but it's also gradually making its way into residential roofing.

    Membrane roofing comes in large rolls laid out flat on the roof surface and provides excellent waterproofing.

    Rubber Roll Roofing

    Yes, you read that right! Rubber roll roofing is made of recycled materials and is typically more eco-friendly. It’s an excellent choice for those looking to leave a smaller carbon footprint while also having an exceptionally durable roofing option.

    Roll on Shingles

    An interesting alternative to traditional shingles are roll-on shingles. These rolls come with shingle patterns embossed onto them, giving the appearance of more expensive roofing types. If you’re all about aesthetics but don’t want to break the bank, roll-on shingles are a great option.

    Roll Roofing for Flat Roofs

    Specifically designed for low-slope and flat roofs, this type of roll roofing comes with a modified bitumen material that provides an additional layer of waterproofing. It’s durable and less susceptible to the kinds of damage that flat roofs often experience.

    Black Rolled Roofing

    If you're in search of something that serves both form and function, black rolled roofing is a stylish option that also absorbs and retains heat well. It's a popular choice in colder climates where heat retention is beneficial.

    MSR Roll Roofing

    Also known as Mineral Surfaced Roll, this is a granule-surfaced roofing material that's mostly used on sloped roofs. MSR roll roofing provides both aesthetic value and practical utility.

    Advantages of Rolled Roofing

    Sure, we’ve heard of tile, slate, and metal roofing, but why is rolled roofing often overlooked when it should be seriously considered? Here are some compelling advantages:


    Let’s start with the biggie: rolled roofing is affordable. Compared to other modern roofing materials, you’re going to save a pretty penny without compromising too much on quality.

    Easy Installation

    Whether you’re a seasoned DIYer or hiring a professional, installing rolled roofing is a cinch. The rolls are lightweight and require fewer accessories and tools for installation, making them less labor-intensive than other types of roofing systems.


    From residential roofing materials to commercial outbuildings, rolled roofing can be used on a variety of structures. Plus, with different types of rolled roofing, like roll-on shingles and roll roofing for flat roofs, you have more options to match your specific needs.


    Though perhaps not as long-lasting as slate or metal, quality rolled roofing can still offer a good lifespan. For instance, asphalt roll roofing has a typical lifespan of 5-10 years, but rubber roll roofing can last even longer.

    Energy Efficiency

    Certain types of rolled roofing are excellent insulators, especially the black rolled roofing types that absorb heat. This could help you save on your heating bills during colder months.

    Low Maintenance

    No one wants to be a slave to their roof. Rolled roofing requires minimal maintenance. A simple inspection once or twice a year is often enough to ensure everything is in top shape.

    Disadvantages of Roll Roofing

    Shorter Lifespan:

    Roll roofing has a significantly shorter lifespan compared to traditional shingles or tiles. Wear and tear occur much sooner, leading to potential frequent replacements.

    Aesthetic Appeal:

    Unlike roll shingle roofing or architectural shingles, rolled roofing lacks aesthetic charm. For those seeking curb appeal, other roofing systems that enhance the appearance of the residential roof might be preferable.

    Limited Suitability:

    Rolled roofing is not suitable for steep-sloped roofs, being ideal only for flat or low-sloped surfaces. Not the ideal choice for more complex roofing structures due to its limitations in adaptability to varied roof shapes.


    Roofing roll paper can deteriorate faster than other types of roof materials like tiles or metal, leaving the underlying roofing membrane roll exposed and susceptible to damage.

    Seams and edges are the Achilles' heel of roll roofing. These are the areas where water can easily infiltrate, leading to leaks and internal damage. Regular checks for seal integrity are necessary to prolong the lifespan of your rolled roof. If you find any damage, prompt roll roofing installation or repair is crucial to prevent extensive issues.

    Costs of Rolled Roofing

    Costs of Rolled Roofing

    Budget-conscious homeowners, listen up! Rolled roofing prices may initially seem like a great deal. The materials are less expensive upfront, and rolls of shingles or roll-on shingles are readily available for DIY projects. However, when factoring in maintenance and frequent replacements, costs can add up.

    Let's break down the costs a bit:

    Material Costs: Asphalt roll roofing for sale generally ranges from $50 to $100 per roll, which can cover approximately 100 square feet. Other materials like rolled roofing underlayment or roll roofing paper will add to this cost.

    Labor Costs: While DIY is an option for the handier among us, a professional installation is often recommended to maximize longevity. Labor costs can vary based on your location but expect to pay around $300 to $500 per square for professional installation, including the rolls of roofing shingles and other necessities.

    Maintenance Costs: Regular maintenance checks may require the replacement of rolls of roofing, rolled membrane roofing, or even a whole new rolled composition roof, depending on the extent of the damage.

    Eco-Friendly Aspects of Rolled Roofing Materials

    When it comes to residential roofing, everyone's looking for the most bang for their buck: durability, low maintenance, and cost-effectiveness. Rolled roofing, often a go-to solution for roof covering, is not only budget-friendly but also greener than you might think.

    Made from Recycled Materials

    One of the most impressive eco-friendly aspects of rolled roofing is that it is often made from recycled materials. Unlike some other roofing types, rolled asphalt roofing, for instance, frequently incorporates recycled shingles and post-consumer waste. The ability to incorporate these materials cuts down on landfill waste, making it a choice you can feel good about.

    Energy Efficient

    Believe it or not, the modern roofing materials used in rolled roofing can be extremely energy-efficient. Some types of rolled roofing material come with a reflective coating that deflects sunlight, reducing the heat that gets absorbed. What does this mean for you? Simple: lower energy costs.

    Long Lifespan

    A longer lifespan means fewer replacements and less material going to waste. Rolled roofing, when installed correctly, can last up to 20 years or more, particularly when well-maintained. This longevity reduces the rate at which you'll need to purchase new materials for roofing, contributing to its eco-friendly profile.

    Lighter Load

    Ever thought about the impact of roofing on the structural integrity of your house? Heavier materials can put a strain on your home's structural elements. Rolled roofing is lightweight, reducing this risk and subsequently cutting down on the need for additional resources to strengthen your home. Lighter load, happier Earth!

    Less Waste During Installation

    The nature of rolled roofing installation means less waste is produced compared to other types of roofing systems. The roofing rolls come in long sheets that are cut to size, meaning there’s less leftover material. This advantage speaks volumes about its environmental footprint.


    Selecting the perfect roofing for your house feels like a daunting task, especially with a myriad of options waiting to confuse you. But wait, rolled roofing comes to the rescue! This popular option is not only wallet-friendly and durable but also earns brownie points for being gentle on Mother Earth.

    Think Beyond Just Coverage

    You have an entire palette of choices—whether you're into the classic black or want to spice things up with colored options. There's something for everyone, including specialized variants like membrane roll or even MSR roofing.

    It's more than just slapping some shingles on your roof; it's like choosing a green lifestyle. So, the next time you stumble upon a deal for asphalt roll roofing, remember you're not just shielding your home; you're also doing a solid for the planet.


    Which Rolled Roofing Should I Go for?

    Don’t break a sweat; generally speaking, asphalt roll roofing is your reliable, go-to option.

    How Long Rolled Roofing Lasts?

    With the proper installation and some TLC, expect a robust life of up to two decades from your rolled roof.

    Is Double Layering a Thing?

    Most building codes put a cap at two layers, but make sure you check the rules in your area.

    Slope: How Low Can You Go?

    Generally, you want to aim for a minimum 2:12 slope to ensure the water says its goodbyes properly.

    Maximizing Longevity: Any Tips?

    Keep it well-maintained, act fast on any required repairs, and ensure it’s installed correctly. And voila! You’ve just added years to your roof’s lifespan.

    Table of Content

      Get daily updates to your inbox!

      Subscribe to our mailing list to receives daily updates!

      Related Stories